So, this new thing called client-agency relationships…

Perhaps I’m at risk of sounding like a seasoned marketer… but what is this new-fangled thing called “agency-client relationships”? Have I missed something?

I know there are a lot of people younger than me in the marketing industry, but is it really such a new concept: to build a relationship with your client so that you can understand them better?

I’ve run two marketing agencies over the last ten years and, believe me when I say that if we didn’t have the amazing relationships we had with our clients, we wouldn’t have won the work; we wouldn’t have delivered the goods and we wouldn’t have lasted ten years!

If I look at my client-side working life before then, I know why some of our agencies were ditched and why some lived long enough to see our strategy and brand evolve. It’s to do with the relationships, you see…

You cannot know a client’s business if you don’t have a relationship. It doesn’t work. They won’t tell you what you need to know and you won’t know what questions to ask.

You cannot deliver what is needed if there is no trust and value in the… wait for it… relationship. They will never listen and you won’t say the right things.

And you most certainly won’t retain the work if there is no – altogether now: relationship. If you’ve messed up the first two elements, why on earth would they want you sticking around? And let’s be honest, you probably wouldn’t want to.

So, what’s rattled my cage? This relationship issue appears to be a current topic in the marketing press. But I’m confused: why is this a topic? Isn’t it a given?

I realise I’m just asking question after question here, but I’m genuinely incredulous that there is a story. I felt the same 7/8 years ago, when newbies to online marketing started suggesting that maybe companies needed a strategy for their online marketing. Oh, and then perhaps a strategy for social media might be an idea…

Don’t worry. I can hear myself… I reek of cynicism and sound a bit like a strategist. Although I am actually a lot younger than I sound.

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